BISBEE — Prosecutors are asking that a murder suspect be evaluated for a third time to determine if he’s competent to stand trial this fall.
Roger Delane Wilson, charged with first degree murder in 2017, has gone through seven attorneys and two mental health evaluations ordered by court officials to determine if the 51-year-old Hereford man is fit to stand trial.
A report issued by Dr. Bernard Morenz of the University of Arizona, was issued recently after Wilson was evaluated a second time. Morenz’s report has been sealed by the court, however, said Assistant Cochise County Attorney Lori Zucco.
At a hearing Monday before Cochise County Superior Judge Timothy Dickerson, Zucco asked for a third evaluation.
Dickerson, who took the case over from Superior Judge James Conlogue, agreed. Dickerson also set a new trial date for Sept. 15. Zucco said the trial would probably last three weeks.
Wilson is in custody at the Pima County Jail. He’s accused of killing Jose Daniel Arvizu after shooting him in the chest in June 2017.
The incident occurred near Wilson’s mother’s house just outside Sierra Vista, and Wilson has always maintained that he shot Arvizu in self-defense.
Wilson has been a contentious defendant, often interrupting proceedings with yelling and mumbling. He has accosted his attorneys and threatened to kill them, court records show. During Monday’s hearing — he appeared via video — Dickerson asked that Wilson be muted after Wilson loudly objected to the new trial date.
Two months ago, Wilson was convicted in Pima County Court of attacking one of his attorneys, court records show. On April 29, Zucco wrote a report to Conlogue stating that Wilson had testified at that hearing and was lucid and quoting case law. She told Conlogue, “The state submits that defendant is currently competent to stand trial.”
On that same day however, Conlogue recused himself from the case, stating only, “Circumstances have arisen which require this judge to recuse himself from this case, pursuant to Rule 2.11, Code of Judicial Conduct.”
According to the American Bar Association, the rule states: “A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
The first time Wilson was evaluated was in February 2019, when Conlogue ordered that Wilson be placed in a mental competency restoration program.
When Wilson emerged from the program a few months later, it was determined he was competent to stand trial.
But this past November, Wilson’s seventh attorney, Steven West, again raised the issue that his client was not competent to stand trial. The lawyer stopped representing Wilson in late December after he said Wilson had threatened “counsel’s life and/or wellbeing on multiple occasions,” according to court records.
Wilson’s current attorney is Chris Kimminau.